Local contractors to be encouraged to bid for mega projects | Sunday Observer

Local contractors to be encouraged to bid for mega projects

The new government that will be formed this week will pay greater attention to encouraging local contractors to undertake bidding for mega development projects that would support local industries and help save the drain of foreign exchange on hired overseas expertise and labour, said Secretary to the Ministry of Industrial Export and Investment Promotion, M.P.D.U. Mapa Pathirana last week.

He said the objective of the exercise is to encourage and support local expertise and industries whose potential has not been fully harnessed due to the use of foreign expertise on local projects in the past.

“We will encourage local contractors to bid for major development projects on roads, highways, ports and irrigation which will change the landscape of the country,” Pathirana said.

He said steps would be taken to streamline and simplify approvals for projects which had been a time consuming and cumbersome process that discouraged investors.

 “The focus will be on promoting strategic investments next year such as the Colombo Port City project that would position the country as a destination for trade and investments,” the Secretary said, adding that attention will be paid to promote value addition and export oriented industries.

The China Harbour Engineering Company has pledged US$ 1 billion for the construction of the International Financial City of the Colombo Port City Project.

According to Pathirana, the bottom line of the moves is to curtail foreign borrowing and encourage more private sector investments within the country.

The Board of Investment, the apex body for investment promotion, revised its investment target for this year to US$ 1.5-2.0 billion due to the global pandemic.

However, projections are that Sri Lanka could miss the target similar to last year due to the devastating Easter Sunday attacks that impeded local and foreign investments to the country.The country missed its FDI target of US$ 3 billion last year.

“The government will expedite work on projects that have been in the pipeline  and those already under construction,” Pathirana said.

However, according to Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Higher Education, Technology and Innovations, Bandula Gunawardena, foreign investors will show interest in projects of the nature of the Colombo Port City.

According to data, the country has secured investments to the value of US$ 588.76 million comprising US$ 547.99 million from foreign and US$ 50.77 million from local companies up to June 25 this year.

The estimated employment generation from the projects is 4,594.

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